While his most recent revelation has proved, one in which Michael Owen expressed his desire to languish on Manchester United’s bench instead of pursuing first team football elsewhere, the story of Owen’s decline into English football obscurity, while often times sad, continues.

With yet another fresh injury to the hamstring again placing Owen on a bench in England’s top flight, even now the optimists must believe the striker is considering what would be a semi early retirement at only 30.

Far away are the days of Owen’s England exploits. His goal in the eventual loss v Argentina in World Cup ’98 announcing the words ‘Michael’ and ‘Owen’ to the world is now a far cry from his current state of affairs. Or, maybe just an earlier chapter in the book that is his playing career for club and country.

Owen’s Liverpool days, one in which the striker scored 118 goals in 216 appearances for the Reds, oddly feel further away and more distant than his glory days for England.

Stints at Real Madrid and Newcastle witnessed moderate success but also injury concerns that would serve as a warning for things to come for Owen. Regardless of the setbacks, his never say die attitude gave fans hope he’d one day again reach his best form.

While Wayne Rooney has just penned a new five year deal and with the in form Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez also in the fold, Owen’s already slim chance of getting starts for United continue to dwindle as each day passes.

For now, Owen is in the final year of his current contract with Manchester United and it seems highly unlikely that Sir Alex Ferguson will grant the striker another year of bench time with the Red Devils. While this most recent injury setback looks to keep him out for the next four weeks at least, Owen remains candid about his desire to stay and fight for his spot at United.

Most recently, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, Owen spoke of his desire to stay at United instead of pursing first team football at a different club, “I won’t drop down the leagues and whether I would even want to drop down to a poorer Premier League team, I don’t know“.

Which translates to Owen hanging up his boots if United refuse to grant him another year or two in Manchester. While I’d absolutely hate to see him go, it’s obvious his best days are well behind him and that Michael Owen has a few serious decisions to consider in the near future.